Friday, November 22, 2013

Baked Ziti with Zip

Excuse me while a wipe a little drool off my chin. 
That's what this picture of Spicy Ziti and Spinach does to me!
Spicy Ziti and Spinach has been a favorite recipe of mine for a very long time. It's perfect when the nights are dark and chilly, and you want to indulge in a flavorful, heat-you-to-your-core meal.  
Bring out that food processor to make this meal a cinch to put together. The onions, the garlic and the spinach all get a turn.

Hope you enjoy Spicy Ziti and Spinach and check back at That Suburban Momma and at Eating with Angie for more favorite recipes very soon.
Ingredients List
Serves 6-8
  • Olive oil
  • 3 cups dry pasta (fusilli or penne is best)
  • 3/4 lb hot, ground Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto sauce (I like Costco's Kirkland pesto best)
  • 10 oz fresh baby spinach, finely chopped
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 6 oz of mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • Crushed red pepper (optional)
1. Heat a big pot of water to boiling and begin to cook pasta 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain and return pasta to the empty pot.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly oil 9×13 baking dish.

3. Over medium-high heat, brown sausage, onion and garlic in a large, deep skillet. Cook for 10 minutes or until sausage is cooked through.
4. Add tomatoes and juices to the meat mixture. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. 
5. Stir in the pesto and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Turn off the heat.

Ziti with mozzarella cubes and ready for the oven.
6. Gently pour the tomato-meat sauce over pasta in the pasta pot. Add the Parmesan and chopped spinach. Turn pasta with a big spoon until ingredients are evenly distributed.
7. Pour pasta mixture into the 9×13 baking dish. Press mozzarella cubes evenly throughout the pasta.
8. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until bubbly throughout.
Serve warm and with a little crushed red pepper if you really like it spicy.